Academic Divisions

Marine Biology & Fisheries

About MBF

The Division of Marine Biology and Fisheries (MBF) focuses its efforts in a wide range of field, laboratory, and theoretical research with particular interest in areas such as the biochemistry of marine toxins, coral reef studies, biological oceanography and marine biology, fisheries biology and aquaculture, and the biology and behavior of marine vertebrates. Through various Rosenstiel School research centers and groups, such as the Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Science Center, the experimental hatchery, the Pew Institute for Ocean Science, the National Science Foundation/National Institute of Environmental Health Science Center for Oceans and Human Health, the world-renowned NIH/University of Miami National Resource for Aplysia facility, and many others, division faculty, students, and their many international collaborators participate in multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary, and cross-divisional programs.  Graduate students in MBF are able to choose from a diversity of subject areas for their research and courses with such a wide variety of experts.


A modern fleet of research vessels, small boats, excellent computer facilities, scanning electron microscope and other sophisticated laboratory instruments, a highly technical field capability, an extensive library, research invertebrate museum, and an experimental fish hatchery provide the perfect research environment for both the budding and accomplished marine biologist. Combined with the other on-campus divisions of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry, Marine Geology and Geophysics, Applied Marine Physics, and Marine Affairs, the School offers opportunities in marine science available at few other institutions.


Most successful applicants have a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences including a strong foundation in physical sciences (chemistry, physics, calculus) and basic biological sciences. However, applicants with a diversity of other degrees also are successful. Applicants should contact specific faculty to discuss mutual research interests. Applicants must take the GRE, and those whose first language is not English must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of at least 550. The advanced biology test is recommended but not required. Courses in marine biology and oceanography are not necessary for entrance into the program and are not recommended if taken in place of basic biology courses.

Funding Opportunities

The overwhelming majority of MBF students are supported as research assistants. These assistantships, which are awarded competitively, provide a monthly stipend and cover tuition costs. Students not supported as research assistants are generally supported on special fellowships provided by their employer or, for some non-U.S. students, their home country.

Degrees Offered

The Division of Marine Biology and Fisheries currently offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Funding opportunities for the M.S. program are more limited than those for the Ph.D., so fewer students are accepted into the M.S. program. We do not require a M.S. degree for entrance into the Ph.D. program. Requirements for both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees can be found here. Both degrees require independent research, but the scope of the research is greater for the Ph.D. degree.

The Professional Masters degree focuses on the acquisition of applied skills; it involves an internship rather than a thesis and is not designed for students strictly interested in research. If you would like more information about the MPS degree, please click here.

Prior to submitting an application, both M.S. and Ph.D. candidates are strongly encouraged to contact specific faculty to inquire about opportunities in particular laboratories as well as that faculty’s expectations for obtaining a M.S. or Ph.D.

Other Perks

In addition, division personnel have ready access to the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratories (AOML), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Southeast Fisheries Center (SEFC), the relatively nearby National Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary, and the various associated research disciplines within the University of Miami.

coral Photo credit: Michael Schmale

Marine Biology and Fisheries

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